Question of the day: Is my lettuce safe in this winter weather?

Dec 2, 2009

Here is a question I received today from Carrie:

Lettuce1 "I am growing Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Bibb lettuce this fall.  I know it's probably too late to be asking you this question, but what, if anything, do I need to do this fall/winter to protect them?  I have it in my mind that the chard & spinach are pretty hardy and can take a frost(?) but I doubt the same can be said for the bibb.  Everything looks fine so far, even after the "snow" we got this morning."

I almost never cover my chard, spinach or lettuce. They can all take temperatures in the low 20's without protection. About 22 F degrees or so. In fact, you can even germinate spinach seeds down in the low 20's. If we drop into the teens you can cover them with a sheet of frost cloth and that should be enough. Just make sure plants are watered before a freeze and you're good to go. In our area we will normally get say two or three freezes in the teens, so just have some frost cloth on hand. Snow and ice can actually act as an insulator when it covers the plant. It's the dry hard freezes that actually do more damage. That help Carrie?

There are 4 comments for this entry

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Dec 02, 2009
7:19 pm

Great!  Thanks so much!  Glad to hear I don’t have to do anything.  I’m kind of a lazy gardener….

ann allen
Dec 04, 2009
8:51 am

can you do a post about exactly what one should use for soil in a raised planter for veggies like the ones you have.  I have had trouble with letco’s premium bedding mix.  i mixed it with compost and several organic ferts and it appeared to be low in N.  The plants just wouldn’t grow.  help.

Dec 04, 2009
12:50 pm

I have covered with Remay at times and at others just left stuff - seems to be pretty much the same, they usually recover! Maybe an exception would be when the snow blankets and stays for a week or longer? I don’t know, your numbers sound pretty good to me!

Leslie Finical Halleck
Dec 04, 2009
2:41 pm

Tonight it’s supposed to be 25F in Dallas. So if you have any young transplants, or plants that are just starting to bud (broccoli, etc) then you could cover them with some frost cloth…water them in before hand. I personally will not cover anything (even my poor chickens…I’m assured they too will be just fine even though I want to get them each their own snuggy! lol). But, my husband has decided that he must cover his precious broccoli, as it has just started budding. With snow blankets or ice, yes, they can cause some damage to certain plants if they remain for a long period of time. But using frost cloth can actually be more detrimental if you have a heavy blanket of snow or ice fall on top of the cloth..then it weighs down and breaks the plants. To cover, or not to cover…that is the eternal question! I usually cover less, and only when temps are below the low 20’s.

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